Like any aro hobbyist, I am always curious about the wild habitat of the asian arowana. However, Kapuas and Bukit Meral river never interest me because they were well visited or explored by various groups of people with diverse objectives. There are really nothing new about these two rivers. Most of the wild aro were gone…
But in 2005…I was pinched by a news of wild aro spotted in Myanmar. I got the information from Mr. Yamazaki who is the writer and publisher of Pratapat magazine in Japan. He was one of the pioneer who has visited and keep record of the wild red arowana and crossback golden. I was told that two Japanese fishing enthusiates caught a wild aro while fishings in Myanmar river. But which river? I got no confirmed answer but was told that it was somewhere near Sitwe ..North-west of Myanmar.
This arowana is the mysterious SnakeSkin arowana that even till today..it is still rare. The name is Scleropages inscriptus. According to Yamazaki San, He has seen one of the specimen in Thailand…about 15 years ago ( from today date). He has once asked me to go exploring with him on this fish some 10 years ago.. but we have no clue.. where to start?
But now…we know where to start…I want to go somewhere where nobody has gone to and have the “virgin” expereince. I decided to take this challenge and head to Myanmar with my worker – Ling who is from Myanmar. With him, I feel the comfort as he is a local there and I should be in safe hand. One thing I am very sure…there no guaranteed that we will find this mysterious fish! The following is my record:
1) 4th May 2005 -MI516
A View from the hotel. We arrived in Yangon – 1202HR. It was pouring and many aread were flooded. What intrigued me was we were followed by someone.. straigth from the airport to the hotel. I was as interested in him as he was with us. 7 years ago ..Myanmar was stil military rules. My guess was…he was one of the “guard”. Finally..he approached us to find out why we were there…we told him the true reason and he went off.
We manged to get hold of the map of Rakine state that night…
2) 5th May 2005
To my disappointment we couldn’t get hold of the ticket to Sitwe (direct flight). We have to wait a few more days before another fight was available. I couldn’t wait that long. I am very impatience..or too excited to sit and do nothing for so long. I want to move at no cost! We managed to get hold of two tickets from Dwaryawaddy transport company to go Thantwae.
My worker Htein Ling Aung (Ling). Behind him was the super bus with modified engine to “cross mountain” from Yangon to Thantwae. We set off at 3.30pm and arrived at Thantwae 8.35am (6th May 2007). 18 hrs ride!! This is cargo bus with lots of good occupying 70% of the bus and only ten seats availabled to carry passenger. When I board the bus, I didn’t know that this bus was going to risk our life through narrow path where one mistake…will send us off the cliff.
In the middle of the night, we took a “pit-stop” at one of the provisional shop situated on top of the mountain. The family was making the “kwan ya”. You will get “high” on it. It helps driver to stay awake and alert. This is very popular in Taiwan too – “Bing Lang”. Your mouth will turn red after chewing it!
Nearby the provisional shop was some straw huts where people lives there. This was their home. Without the flash light from my camera…it’s total darkness there.
Ok…that’s all for today…It’s 5.07pm now and I need to wrap up my works for today. I will continue again anothe day.. soon.